burnt toast

Tag: cashew

Carrots, Cashews and Goodbyes

I’ve never been a big fan of goodbyes. I’ve had my fair share of them, and no boubt there will be more to come. Change is good, even if it’s hard to come to terms with that fact at the beginning. My last “change” was three years ago, from Switzerland to Australia, from (little) capital city to tiny country town. And as much as I may have complained about the scarce public transport and the sleepy, laid back life style here, I have grown to love Mullumbimby. I have met the most interesting and beautiful people here and made incredibly good friends. I will miss working with my best friend at the local coffee shop/takeaway deli. I will miss knowing every coffee shop customer’s coffee order. I will miss making sandwiches, and I will miss hating making fresh juices. I will miss jogging the same old track to the cemetery every day. I will miss apéro time down the road. I will miss all the hugs, all the laughs and all the smiles shared. I will miss being here, in this sleepy little place, where people drive like lunatics, where nobody will give you a second glance if you walk to town in your pijamas, where pseudo hippies ask for spinach in their banana smoothie.

However I know my time here is up. I am ready for new adventures, for a change of scenery. Melbourne, you beautiful city, here I come.

But first, off to Switzerland. A month of freezing toes and old friends. Life’s good. Life’s great.

So in the meantime, I would like you to consider this little dip here. Yes, I recall telling you I have a thing for dips. Dips are awesome. They turn every end-of-day cup of wine into a little celebration. And in my opinion there’s never enough to celebrate. This one’s especially spectacular. The vibrant orange with speckles of green, the creamy, velvety texture offset by crunchy little morcels of cashew. The sweetness of the carrots complemented by the saltiness of the nuts and the zing of the lemon. If there’s something that could turn carrots into superstars, this would be it.

Carrot, Cashew and Coriander Dip

 

2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

100g roasted cashews, plus 50g extra, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ garlic clove, roughly chopped

½ lemon

½ tsp salt

dash of soy sauce

2 pinches chilli

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp coriander, leaves finely chopped

Place carrot in a small saucepan and add a few tablespoons of water. Cover and let simmer until the carrot is cooked. Scoop it out and transfer into a jug. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend them with a hand held blender. Stir in the extra chopped cashews. You might have to adjust the seasoning later. Now, top with more nuts, maybe a slice of lemon, some paprika or maybe a few leaves of coriander. Let’s be hippies together, one last time.

By the way this goes really well with dukkah – crusted focaccia, jus’ sayin’.

Pesto rosso

pesto rosso

I love Saturdays. Maybe not quite as much as Fridays, but they’re very close. Growing up in Switzerland, my family and I would always go to the markets on Saturdays. The vendors would give me olives to sample, or a morsel of cheese, and little cups of home made cordial. Such bliss. There’s no way you’d be able to get a loaf of bread to stay crunchy for more of a couple of hours in this ridiculously humid climate here in Australia. The cheese would be kidnapped by an army of flies before it would have time to go off in the sweltering summer heat. Aah, I’m being too harsh. I love you both, my two homes. What one place lacks, the other has plenty of, tearing me back and forth, making it difficult to decide if I could ever live in the one place forever…

Let’s get back to business. One of our favourite buys on Saturday mornings was the pesto rosso we’d get from a friend’s shop. We’d eat that deliciousness with cheese, on bread, with maybe a few sliced picked cucumbers. It never occurred to me I could make it myself until I stumbled across it on this gem of a site, The Traveller’s Lunchbox. Pestos should always be made at home anyway. You save yourself money and disappointment. Which is a pretty good deal in my opinion. Get pestoing. And give your mother some. She’d love that.

 Pesto Rosso

20 semi dried tomato halves

80g grated parmesan

80g roasted walnuts, roughly chopped

2 medium rosemary sprigs, picked and chopped finely

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

½ tsp salt

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp honey

2 pinches chilli flakes

6+ Tbsp olive oil

Combine all those beautiful ingredients in a jug or something with tall sides and introduce them to your hand held blender, or alternatively use a different blending device. You know what’s best. Whizz until well combined. You might have to add more oil. Yum yum. Now get a spoon and try. Or if you’ve got manners spread some on a piece of toast. Or fold through pasta with a few roasted cherry tomatoes. Or combine with some sour cream  to make a tasty spread or dip.

pesto rosso and cream cheese

Coriander

I have an affinity to add coriander to pretty much everything I cook. I can’t help it, coriander haters, it is just so that I can have more and you have to sit there sulking. Get over your hate for that green leafiness and direct it at something that needs your hate more, like sweet mayonnaise (seriously, who came up with the genius idea to put sugar in it? Did some housewife one day go: Man I really want dessert but all I have is mayonnaise…or maybe it was her husband who thought she was making custard and after having a taste, threw in a kilo of caster sugar…we can only speculate. And hate.). I promise you’ll love it one day.

I love it in Thai- and Indian curries, atop cheesy nachos, especially in salsas, in zingy guacamole and in good old pumpkin soup. And in this pesto. Inspired by the Woolworths dip section, minus the preservatives, citric acid, food acid, lactic acid and any other sort of acid they can get a hold of. Dangerous stuff I’m telling you.

Make this if you’re over pesto, if you want to jazz up your evening apéro selection of chips and dip, or if you just really want to give coriander another chance.

Thai Style Pesto

2 bunches of coriander, roots, stems, leaves, roughly chopped

4cm knob ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves

1 stick lemongrass, finely sliced

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced

½ chilli, finely sliced

1 lime, grated rind and juice

80g roasted cashews, plus an additional handful of chopped cashews, to stir in at the end for texture

4+ Tbsp olive oil

salt

Blend the lot with a handheld blender in a measuring cup or jug until smooth, adding more oil as needed.

Use immediately or transfer to a jar and cover with olive oil. This will keep for about 1 week in the fridge.

I love this as a dip, with crisp pita wedges, with fried eggs on toast,or with rice noodles, some freshly chopped mint and a sprinkling of crispy-fried shallots.

Yeah. That stuff. Pesto.

One of the simplest dinners ever would be pesto pasta. Tasty and filling. Or at least I hope it’s like that for you. Quite possibly, you’ve got your own very special reipe which was handed down to you by your Italian great grandmother. I’m sure you’re recipe’s great, I really am. But this here is how  I do it.

Thinking back, as a young ‘un, I always felt there was never enough pesto on the actual pasta. Those store bought jars were always just too damn small. And if I put too much parmesan on it I’d almost choke on the dryness it imparted on this otherwise beautiful little dish. That is why these days people, I make my own pesto. My father’s girlfriend looks after these amazing basil bushes at the back of our house, so whenever the urge comes upon us, we make pesto. I like my pesto cheesy, and nutty. And salty, with a bit of tang. I like to mix it with cream cheese and a little sour cream for a yummy dip, or mix it into a salad dressing…or slathered over pizza. Whatever you’re up to with this, make sure you make twice the amount, if you can. Because it’ll vanish far quicker than you’d think.

Pesto

¾ cup firmly packed fresh basil

35g grated parmesan cheese

40g roasted cashews

2 large garlic cloves, halved

1 Tbsp lemon juice

4+ Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients to a measuring jug or some sort of vessel with high sides and puree until smooth and creamy. You may have to add some more olive oil to get the right consistency, which isn’t too thick, but also not too runny. Transfer to a jar and cover with more olive oil. It’ll keep for about a week in your fridge. Enjoy pumpkin.

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